Why aren’t you on Facebook? Where is your Myspace page? Have you signed up to Bebo yet? I get asked these questions a lot and I don’t really have an adequate answer. Because of the nature of what I do for a living, I do get strange reactions when I explain I have not joined any social networking site. “But you’re into the Internet and all that…” they say, “join up so you can see my pictures… You can be a friend… You must see So and So’s page, its brill.”
I am surrounded by colleagues who put much time and effort into maintaining their Facebook accounts. They really enjoy using it. They boast about their friend list and who has accepted their Facebook friend requests. I can’t explain why, but it just doesn’t appeal.
It took me a long time to pluck up courage to start this blog site, the purpose of which was purely to complement and promote my portfolio website.
I have never been into chat-rooms or forums. I used to using the net for browsing and extracting information. Maybe I’m fearful of the social interaction that is required or the amount of personal detail that has to be displayed in order to make the whole thing worthwhile. Finding the time to set up and fill an account is also an issue. I see people spending hours on it, either visiting other Facebookers or maintaining their page. Being a family man, I have little spare time. Finding the motivation is another great problem.
It has been pointed out to me that I am probably missing out on golden opportunities of marketing myself and my design abilities but I still can’t bring myself to join in.
Is Facebook and similar sites a young person thing? I don’t really know. Maybe this is the innovation that sets me in a different generation.
Maybe I feel I’m too old for it. Did I just say that? What a horrible thought! I don’t consider myself to be an old fogy but I’m certainly not getting younger. When it comes to technology, I consider myself relatively ‘with it’ for a person in there thirties. I design and build websites (among other things); my ipod gets a lot of use, as does the digital camera. I watch digital TV on a HD screen and I can’t get about without my sat-nav. My family makes great use of the internet. It’s now our primary method of shopping, banking, news and general reference. Mobile phone and email is a way of life, as is YouTube and iTunes. Even my very young children have their favourite websites. So why is social networking such a problem for me? I would like to join in and maybe I will. Don’t give up on me yet…
Douglas Adams (author of The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy) spoke of a theory he had concerning our acceptance of technology:
“Anything that is in the world when you are born is normal.
Anything that is invented between than and when you are 35 is new and revolutionary and you will probably get a career in it.
And anything that is invented after you are 35 is against the natural order of things.”
Yes, I am over 35 (but only a bit)!